Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

writing

Little blue skirts

I’ve assigned Girl by Jamaica Kinkaid because we’re looking at the way people use their own lives for material. Years back when I read that piece, I sympathized with the daughter, but now I sympathize with the mother which is not what Kinkaid intents, I think. I assigned it because we’re talking about images, the way we use images to create little movies in our readers’ minds. Girl is simply […]

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they don’t think at all

I write fiction, but decided instead of doing what I’ve been doing for the past few decades and sort of know how to do, I’d write a screenplay for my MFA thesis. I wanted to do something new, I said, pretending I don’t realize that every piece of writing requires something new. I wanted to watch more movies. Something school has put a damper on. I wanted to study with […]

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But it’s also the face of a real child.

It’s the image I want but it is also the face of a real child. I was looking for images for the Pinterest board I’ve created around my latest manuscript. I collect images for story ideas. I collect images around my books. In this latest as yet unpublished book my character Mavis “was a secret animist” as a child. I searched images for “animist” and found a stunning picture of […]

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it all devolves into self doubt

I’ve been lying on the floor with the dog, Riley, index cards spread out all around us. I’m organizing the scenes of my screenplay. I have to be alone to do this. I talk out loud to myself. I try out different lines of dialogue. The windows are open and the sky is a brilliant blue. I can hear my neighbors. A woman rides by on a motorbike. But I’m […]

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Chronology matters.

I used to keep diaries but now I don’t. I have boxes of old journals starting back from when I was eight years old. Now, when I feel like writing in my diary, I think instead I should write for my blog. You cannot post to your blog once a blue moon and hope to keep your readers. Some of my journals are embarrassing and I think I should destroy […]

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I don’t want to.

I’ve hardly looked at my current novel since I’ve been in school. Today I got it out and now I remember why. Suddenly most of the day is gone, and I don’t want to do anything else but write the story. I don’t want to grade papers, I don’t to do homework, I don’t want to work on my lesson plans, enter grades, read what I’m supposed to read, write […]

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must read more Chekov, for one thing

   I am looking again at my manuscript which Jessica said is too “dark,” a complaint I can’t understand. And I am thinking of how to edit a short piece I wrote which was inspired by Walter Pater’s Child in the House, but I wonder if it’s too obscure. I want to rewrite my unpublished novel, The Only Home I Have, so that all the minor characters don’t seem like […]

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Plot is My Enemy

Mimi asked how I find time to write a blog, and I said I only write about once a month so that hardly counts. It’s spring break, and I’m writing my never-ending YA adult Tarot card novel, which is so difficult because it’s all plot driven and figuring things out. Someone once wrote that I am a master of plot, but that is not true. Plot is my enemy. I […]

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painting all the wrong rooms

I always felt negligent because I don’t write biographies of my characters before putting them into my stories, like the writing books say to do. I don’t make lists. I don’t think about their favorite colors, hobbies, the kind of car they drive, their childhood. I put them in and see what develops.  So lazy. So impatient. Then yesterday I read an article in which someone compared the autobiographical sketch […]

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